I haven’t meditated for a few weeks. I crave Cheez-Its all the time. I haven’t stepped into a studio for two weeks. I took a two hour nap yesterday and then couch bummed with my fiance all night. I’m a yoga teacher, and this is me.
Anyone who knows me frequently asks, “How do you do so much all the time?” Or “I know you’re busy but…” Earlier this week, two friends called me “super human”. I can humbly try to laugh it off, but sometimes I think about my schedule and feel exhausted.
The struggle to balance my life is an ongoing effort. There are weeks where I have high energy and am firing on all cylinders. I work 40 hours, teach 5 yoga classes, plan events for Room to Read, make time to practice yoga, and try to eat well. This is a ton, and when I wasn’t doing all these things, I would quickly feel like something was “wrong”. Some days I just wanted to nap. Some weeks I didn’t want to teach. Sometimes I wanted to eat chocolate cake for dinner. I began to realize that I didn’t need to be a slave to my obligations or to my idea of what a “yoga teacher’s life” should look like. I thought I had to always meditate and provide wisdom. For a time, I thought I had to be vegetarian or vegan. I thought I had to practice 5-7 days a week to be a good teacher. When I wasn’t embodying this lifestyle, I thought something was wrong or people would judge me. Or worse, I totally judged myself.
I teach so much about letting go of expectations and image, but this is because I struggle with these things myself. And because I understand how hard it is to let go when there are so many reminders that preach otherwise. With season shifting into fall (well, in Texas:), and the holidays around the corner, it’s a great time to slow down, get grounded, and appreciate this moment. It’s also a wonderful time to acknowledge what is changing and be in tune with what is, rather than what we think should be.
So in the spirit of taking root and getting present, I’m setting the following intentions for fall:
- Take time to connect. Andy is my top priority right now, and this wasn’t always the case. I feel wonderful about this focused intention, and I feel more connected to him than ever. This is also time for family, so I’m excited for my cousin’s upcoming wedding and spending the holidays together. Reconnect with those whom you’ve lost touch, make new connections, or check in with loved ones.
- Eat good food. And lots of it. Food is social and a wonderful way to connect. However, oftentimes we approach food with guilt or ultimatums, and we lose sight of how negative thinking can impact us and the people around us. Eat to feel good and enjoy the experience.
- Rest. After spending the earlier part of the year doing high cardio activities like cycling and swimming, and running high on energy, I often find myself needing a slower pace during the holidays. Sometimes that might just be hanging out at home or practicing yoga on my own. Remind yourself that it’s ok to feel like couch bumming and slowing down. The holidays are a time to rest and recharge after being on the go all summer and basically all year. Embrace stillness.
- Moderation. One of the golden rules of yoga involves brahmacharya or in loose translation, moderation or living with consciousness. When it comes the different realms of my life, I have to be open to the idea of flexibility or some give and take. This means that some days or weeks I work more and have less time to focus on me. Lately I’ve prioritized all my time with Andy and have seen my friends less. What I’ve come to realize is that I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. Priorities in life will always fluctuate, but if we are present to these cycles and approach them with good intention, we will be able to find joy and purpose in the things we choose to do.
- Get real. Seek the truth. Forget opinion, interpretation, judgment, expectation, etc. and just be with what is. It’s time to drop the stories and lies and see myself for the greatness that I am. This is the moment to become aware of our thoughts, words, and actions. Bring them into harmony with truth and love, and you will find that your ability to hold space and be present becomes abundant. Total acceptance leads to ultimate freedom.
As my teacher often says: Embrace yourself for everything you are and everything you are not. You are uniquely you, and I am uniquely me. That will never change. So let’s rock it!